Striking him repeatedly in his chest, Eliana was shocked and pleased to hear the sleeping man speaking. “Why are you hitting me, Woman?” he asked in desperation, as he grasped his t-shirt up toward his neck. Frowning and groaning, he rolled over, sat up on the side of the bed, and looked back at her. He was readably annoyed. Eliana was relieved to see him talking and moving. She had been terrified a few seconds earlier. She had feared he had gone to sleep, forever.
She began to giggle. She was almost out of control with laughter when the man asked again. “Why were you hitting on me while I was asleep, El?” He asked as he rubbed his chest from side to side.
She stopped laughing long enough to look up at him and began laughing with even more vigor. “I thought you had died. You were not breathing… and I was trying to wake you”, she explained with a wide grin on her face.
She apologized for laughing at his reaction and offered to make a drink for him to hopefully get him to settle down again. “I don’t need a drink!” he growled at her with a deep frown on his brow. “I need some rest, sleep,” he stated firmly, pulling the covers back and readjusting the pillows. He sat up and growled again. Still rubbing his chest as if he were truly in pain.
Eliana kept apologizing until he told her it was alright. “Next time just call my name. I will answer to my name even if I am asleep”. Leaning back on the pillow with one arm behind his head. He settled down and told her all was well.
“Can we get back to sleep now?” he asks as he pulls the cover-up around his neck and turns on his side facing away from her.
Eliana turned off the bedside lamp and scooted down in the bed beside him. She snuggled up to his back. Kissing his shoulder, she apologized one more time. He softened and turned over to embrace her gently. Kissing her cheek, he whispered “Why are you up this time of night anyway?” pulling her deeper into his arms. The warm smell of brandy on his breath was causing her blood to rush to her head. He kissed her nose then her lips.
She tried to pull away to catch her breath. He deepened the kiss until she gave in to it. “You wanted me awake… so you’d know I'm not dead,” he whispered as he touched her in places that only he knew. She giggled and placed both arms around his neck, accepting his warm caresses and steamy kisses.
Eliana whispered, “I wanted you alive more than awake. But I am good with both.” She began massaging his shoulder as he slowly rolls over on her. The night was still early, and they were secure in each other’s arms. She slowly began to gyrate her hips toward his pelvis. He moaned his approval.
Morning. Daylight. Eliana panicked. Feeling around for the pillow on the other side of her bed.
She reached over and touched a person’s head. The warmth of his skin and his presence calmed her immediately. She sat up and looked to see the man in the bed beside her. She had awakened to an empty bed for too many years. Doubt of this being real brought about a bit of fear and apprehension. The man rested with his face mostly covered by the comforter. His breathing was slow and even, like a person sleeping deeply.
She remembered him as the man in bed with her the night before. He was familiar. She could not remember his name. She was going to have to play it by ear when he awakes, she thought.
Easing out of bed, to not disturb him, Eliana ran to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. Yes, she was still herself. But who is this man in my bed? She was not complaining that he was there, she just did not recall when he had come over. “Did I have too much to drink? I could not have had that much to drink. I will let him tell me everything, so I don’t confuse him and seem silly.”
Trying to clear her head and make a sound decision, she slapped her palms together as she walked around in circles in the bathroom. Ideas started popping up. Check his pockets for his wallet. Look into his phone. See if he has anything else in the house. Check the living room. Get his keys and check his car for any information. She was on a roll now. Washing her face and moisturizing she quickly pulled on a large house dress and swiftly walked back to the bedroom looking for his clothes, shoes, or anything that she could go through to check, at least what his name is. Maybe then she would recall who he was.
Slowly and quietly, she looks around the room for his belongings. Usually, when her lover spent the night, he would leave his things out and in reach. But she could not find his things laying around the room. Making her way into the hallway, she rushes to look into the living room and dining room. Nothing there. She looked for his keys. No keys, no phone, no clothes. She walked quietly back to the bedroom. A handsome pair of dark brown leather slippers were facing away from the bed, nothing to give her a clue on that side. She eased the nightstand drawer open. Maybe he puts things away and is a “neat freak”. There were several things in the drawer that piqued her interest and left her with more questions. A cell phone, a small silver key, nail clippers, lip balm, and hand lotion. “What is the single small key to?” she softly whispered. Then rambled deeper into the drawer seeking anything that would verify his identity.
Discombobulated and a little tensed, Eliana quickly pulled the phone out and closed the drawer. Easing back to the bathroom and frantically trying to find any information to help her know the sleeping man, she touched the screen. a picture of a woman flashed across a screen that immediately went dark. Swiping left, she tried to get the screen back. An empty battery icon popped up. The phone has only 3 percent battery power. “Dimes!’” she said quietly and looked for an adapter to power his phone.
It was an iPhone! She knew that she did not know anyone with an iPhone. Looking in kitchen drawers and finally finding an iPhone adapter, she plugs in the phone atop the counter. Deep in thought, she did not notice the man standing there looking at her as though he was just as surprised to see her as she was to see him. “Oh, shizz,'' she whispered.
“Good morning, Sleepyhead. I see you're up!” Eliana said cheerfully and too loudly. The man slowly moved in a lazy rotation and growled in a low deep tone, “Morning El”, then slowly and quietly walked out of the kitchen.
Raising her manicured eyebrow in confusion, “What the heck was that about?” she mumbled. She giggled lightly, peeked toward the hallway. She was not aware that he was standing there staring at her. “Then acted like he was annoyed that she had greeted him”, she thought. Maybe he was a grump in the mornings. She would have to move slowly with this guy. “Seems like he is not morning friendly,” she whispered as she began to move again.
She walked back down the hall and called out to him to see which room he was in. “Can I get you coffee or something?” She heard him peeing in the toilet and stopped, turned, and went back into the bedroom. He had left the bed tumbled as if he were getting back into it. “Well, we’ll just see about that. Not until I know who you are!” She whispered to herself. Pulling the covers to straighten them, she walked around the bed straightening covers and listening for his movements.
She heard the shower go on and the cabinet door close gently. The man cleared his throat and called out, “are you gonna shower now or later?” he asked nonchalantly, but politely. “No, not now. Thank you though. “Okay,” was his only reply.
She was talking to him from the hallway, reluctant to move closer. She did not want to see him with no clothes on. The shower door closed. A slow jazzy tune humming was coming from the running shower. Eliana rushed back to the bedroom and begin looking in the drawers and under the bed. Looking for anything that would hint just who he was. He seemed familiar enough with her that he didn’t have to put on airs or act interested.
After not finding anything of his that was out of place, she rushed into the closet. Looking to see if he had hung up his clothes there. Searching hastily on one side of the huge closet, then the other. Looking but not seeing. Yet. Like cold water splashed on her face, she was baffled. Seeing men’s clothes, shoes, hats, belts. “What is this?”
She looked around the closet. It was much larger than she remembered. A rolling cart, in the middle of the closet, moved when she tried to lean on it. Scratching her head in boggled thought. “Now I know I would have remembered that!” But she did not recall the island in the closet.
She turned and looked the room over. Above her were shelves filled with male things and on the other side of the closet were things that she recognized. She knew that those were her purses, hats, shoes, and assorted clothes. “I must've hit my head someplace”, she mumbled as she turned looking all around the closet. “It’s a decorated storage room”, Eliana whispered sarcastically.
She felt a mist of warm air, mingled with a pleasing masculine smell of soap and cologne float into the closet, arousing her from every angle. He stood in the doorway of the closet, a large green towel wrapped around his midsection, and a toothbrush sticking out the side of his mouth. Eliana noticed the thick spread of dark hair that adorned his chest. The barefoot man walked quickly into the closet and grabbed a brown robe. He looked back at Eliana questioningly and walked back into the bathroom. He did not close the door.
He seemed confident and was not in a hurry. Got his robe and went back in, Eliana was thinking all this when the man came back into the closet. This time he walked right up to her and pulled her into a full embrace and kissed her forehead. He rushed around her and turned at the island and sat down on a settee that she was not aware was there!
He was speedily pulling on footies and sliding his feet into the brown slippers she had seen beside the bed earlier. Reeling from all that she was not being able to put together, Eliana, walked to the bed and sat. Slowly rocking from side to side, she did not have any answers. “Heck, I do not have any questions either!” she thought.
The man whispered in her ear as he gently kissed it, “I am running your bathwater, you can get in it shortly”. He spoke seductively, and she thought that he smelled wonderful! She was riddled with mystery.
The man threw a long gold and pink satin woman’s robe over his shoulder and pulled out a dark gold bra and matching panties from one of the drawers on the island in the middle of the closet. He smiled over his shoulder at her and winked before disappearing into the hallway. “Muddy waters”, she whispered, “What in Thumbelina's pocket is going on here?” The man was busy turning off the faucet when she walked to the bathroom to peek in.
“Perfect timing Mrs. Hoskins, you are gonna love this bath”. Smiling as he stood and side-eyed her flirtingly. Alluring to look upon, she stared openly. He reached his hand to her. Looking down at the step up to the huge tub Eliana accepted his hand like a blind woman and stepped up. He halted her steps by reaching down to pull up the large dress she was wearing. No underwear. She felt sheepish to let him see her nude. Surprising and further confusing her, he said, “After all this time, you still act like it's the first time”. His manner was pleasant. He stood back and slowly turned his back to her.
For Eliana, that was a bale of hay for the back of the camel that was slowly breaking down. She hoped she could get her memory back before he discovered that she had no idea who he was. “And who the heck is Mrs. Hoskins?” She sat down in water that was way too warm but did not complain.
He smiled, bowed, “I’ll leave you to it. Unless you want me to help you with something”. His sly grin made a dimple in his right cheek. “He is gorgeously handsome.” she thought. “No, I can take it from here, thank you so much,” she said as she began lathering the bath sponge. He bowed again then quietly left the room.
Another familiar fragrance coming from the bathwater brought to memory a morning in a garden, and fresh new blooms on a plant. “But where was that garden? Where are we now? Where am I?” she wondered.
Eliana wondered how the tables had turned. Earlier she was in her home looking for clues as to who the man was in her bed. Now she is sitting here in a house that she is only vaguely familiar with. Although the man seemed familiar too, she did not know him. What she did know was that she could love him for a lifetime. But she wasn’t sure of that either.
She reflected as she sat there in the warm fragrant water and became even more disturbed by the newness of the surroundings, and pondered what shifted? What changed? Every moment brought her closer to doubt and confusion. She had to find answers fast or she might lose something valuable. She just wanted to be safe, intact, whole.
Eliana popped her head up from under the water. She remembered everything! Twenty-eight years ago after spending the night with her new lover, they married two weeks later. She kept forgetting to remember. “I wonder if he knows that I sometimes forget who we are”. Giggling she settled back in the tub. He would probably panic if he knew he had married a two-shots-only Anterograde amnesiac.
To be continued …